The Truth about Tithing - Giving in Grace
A New Testament Perspective (Part 2)
By Andy Neckar
The reason for this article is to show that the present preaching by most pastors on the issue of "tithing" is nothing more than purely polluted presumptions to hold believers in bondage and gain preeminence over ever aspect of their financial resources.
Some of the erroneous teaching adversely affecting the responsibility of Christian giving addressed in this article include:
- Christians perform their giving in the 'name' of tithes, offerings and firstfruits
- Fear of a curse as motivation for giving
- Standard based giving of a 10 percent minimum
- The idea that a person's 'righteousness' surpasses that of the Pharisees by out-giving those who are under the law
- Financial legalism and its effect on what should be liberal, voluntary, and Spirit-led giving
It is hoped that this article will discern to the reader the biblical truths surrounding the responsibility of Christian giving.
There are those who accuse Christians of error that hold to the belief that the Old Testament ordinance of 10% tithing is not valid for New Testament Believers. The accusations hurled at these Christians are that the "only" reason for this belief they claim to hold is to justify themselves from returning to God less than a tithe (tenth) of their income. The saddest excuse of all, it is said of these selfish, disobedient Christians who walk out of fellowship with God, is their claim that: "We're not under Law now, but under grace."
An article in David Cloud's O Timothy Computer Library, titled "Grace and Tithing" written by Franklin G. Huling- resorts to "speculations" and "presumptions" to inaccurately connect Bible verses to his claim of New Testament percentages. He writes in his article subtitled, "Disgraceful Excuses": "In another connection, the Apostle Paul writes, 'I would not have you to be ignorant brethren.' (I Thess. 4:13). And the Apostle Peter sorrowfully says of some, 'they willingly are ignorant' (II Peter 3:5). We wonder if these statements do not have an application to those who say that tithing is of the Law, and not according to grace"
Peter writes the second epistle to stir up the believer's minds by way of remembrance that they may be mindful of the words of prophecy. By the word of God, Peter goes back to the dependability and stability of God's word as demonstrated in creation. He tells of scoffers who will come, who are willingly ignorant of these teachings. (2 Peter 3:5) These scoffers doubt God's Word because things go on just as they did for centuries. Peter reassures believers that God is not slack concerning His promise of His return. God's time is not our time. The day of the Lord "will" come. We have the Apostle's (eyewitness) reports and the "more sure word of prophecy". (2 Peter 2 19)
1Thes 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. (KJV)
DO YOU SEE A TITHING CONNECTION IN THE TWO VERSES OFFERED BY CLOUD? (What he publishes in his computer library he affirms) Don't preachers think we will search the scriptures to see if what they say (imply) is true?
It is claimed that God instituted the "tithe" long (400 years) before God brought the children of Israel under the covenant of the Law of Moses. Therefore, since the "tithe" preceded the Law of Moses it is still relevant (instituted) in the New Covenant.
Concerning this claim of strict obedience to a law, or ordinance that precedes the Law of Moses, consider the Seventh Day Sabbath. The Sabbath was instituted during creation week. (Gen 2:2-3) If it can be claimed that the "tithe" is binding in the New Testament because it is a pre-law ordinance, should it not also hold true to the Seventh Day Sabbath? Why don't the percentage preachers attempt to put believers back into bondage, "all the way"?
We all know that Abraham gave to Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God, "tithes of all" (Gen.14:20). Many proponents of New Testament tithing are using this verse to "prove" tithing is valid (as some "eternal principle") for the church today, because Abraham, the father of our faith, established the principle. Abraham gave 10% to the priest. Abraham gave from the spoils he repossessed from the enemy kings. Abraham gave the remaining 90% to those to whom the goods belonged in the first place. Abraham gave only once in his lifetime (as far as the Bible recorded). Abraham had not touched his own property or income (he was exceedingly wealthy).
Gen 28:22 is another favorite verse New Testament "tithing" proponents use to support pre-law tithing. Jacob pledged the Lord his life and a tenth of all possessions that would become his along the way. But he made this promise conditional: If God would remain with him, keep him in the way, and bring him safely home again, he would carry out his part of the pledge
David Clouds says, "The second tither of record in God's Word is Jacob, grandson of Abraham, and also under grace. A Bible teacher friend of mine, after explaining the gracious promises that God made to Jacob, would quote Jacob's vow to God, "I will surely give the tenth unto Thee." (Gen. 28:22) Then he would say, 'You think Jacob was niggardly. But how many of you, who have all the blessings of salvation by grace, are so mean that you do not pay back to God even the tenth!'"
You see, this is NOT my argument. I do not claim that New Testament believers should not give back to God as he prospered, and as we purpose in our hearts. New Testament believers should "give liberally" as the grace of God purposeth them. My argument is that the verses used by these tithing proponents are invalid. They are clearly taken out of context. As I said in the Baptist Brideism article in last month's newsletter, the scripture referenced to support this inaccuracy is nowhere close to the interpretation as determined by the proponents.
2 Cor 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (KJV)
Now-do we give according to the Old Covenant tithe as one under the Law, or do we give as we purposeth in our heart as a New Covenant believer under grace? Yes, Christians should support the preacher, (1 Cor 9:9-14) but we are not told to give a "tithe" (tenth). As we purposeth in our heart can be various amounts, more or less.
Yeah-these preachers forget that we are Christians-believers of the gospel of Christ. We are made a new creature. We are born again. God in His mercy, through His Son Jesus Christ took us out from under the Law of sin and death.
Rom 4:14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: (KJV)
Rom 4:15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. (KJV
I am consistent in my beliefs as God reveals His Truth to me through His Word. I don't believe according to "sister churches" or a "fellowship of pastors". I believe by God's Word.
David Cloud says: "Because tithing was commanded by the Law is nothing against tithing. Those who distort the truth about grace by saying that tithing is not for the Christian, because tithing was included in the Law, if they were consistent would think that a Christian is under no obligation to love God, or not to steal, or not to commit adultery, because they are all commandments of the Law! Of course such an idea is ridiculous, and so is the objection to God's tithing plan. God's purpose of grace is explained in Romans 8:4, "That the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Tithing was right before the Law; tithing was right under the Law; and tithing is still right after the Law".
Preachers love to suggest that those of us who believe the truth of Christian giving as a result of grace, also believe the arrogance of their presumptuous claim that we can "live like hell" and still go to heaven. David Cloud says: "Graceless believers in grace need to have the 'Law' put on them!"
If we do not obey from the "heart", but by "law", we are still lost in our sins. Does Cloud want to put "grace givers" back under the Law so as to condemn us to hell?
Cloud says: "And those who want to do what is right, and follow God's plan, will have grace to tithe, because they 'walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit'."
Christians will have grace to "give", but they are not commanded to "tithe". Pastors who want to do what is right will study to rightly divide the word of truth and end this fraudulent teaching.
Bring the whole tithe
"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the Lord of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows" (Malachi 3:10).
Here we have the tithing teachers' favorite verse in the whole Bible. On this verse they hang most of their doctrine. But if we take a close look at the verse, we will find something very interesting.
"And the priest, the son of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive tithes, and the Levites shall bring up the tenth of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers of the storehouse" (Nehemiah 10:38).
[Note: The word 'storehouse' is translated as 'treasure house' in the KJV. The Hebrew is the same in both Nehemiah and Malachi, outsair, meaning a treasure or a store house. ]
Mal 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. (KJV)
Mal 3:9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. (KJV)
The tithe payable by the Levites, not the tithes payable by the people. Malachi is not rebuking the people, he is rebuking the Levites.
When our modern day tithing teachers point this verse at the people, they are really pointing at themselves --except that most of them refuse to accept this teaching, let alone teach their congregation this Biblical Truth.
Num 18:20 And the LORD spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel. (KJV)
Num 18:21 And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. (KJV)
The Levites, in turn, were to give a tithe of their tithe, to provide for the priests. All priests were Levites, but not all Levites were priests. The priests were to receive the best tenth of the Levites tithe.
Num 18:24 But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the LORD, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance. (KJV)
Num 18:25 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, (KJV)
Num 18:26 Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering (the best tenth to be given to the Levite Priests) of it for the LORD, even a tenth part of the tithe. (KJV)
Num 18:27 And this your heave offering (best tenth) shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress. (KJV)
Num 18:28 Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the LORD of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the LORD's heave offering to Aaron the priest. (KJV)
Num 18:29 Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the LORD, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it. (KJV)
Num 18:30 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress. (KJV)
Num 18:31 And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation. (KJV)
Num 18:32 And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die. (KJV) Mal 1:6 A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? (KJV)
Mal 1:7 Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the LORD is contemptible. (KJV)
Mal 1:8 And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts. (KJV)
The Levites (those who minister for the people in the Temple: i.e. the modern day pastors as claimed by the pastors) was not offering a heave (best) offering to the High Priests. The Levites were giving the blemished (worse part) of the increase to the Temple Priests. They were not good stewards of the goods God entrusted to them.
Today there is no equivalent of a High Priest. Jesus Christ is the High Priest of all True Believers today. (Heb. 2:17-18; 3:1-2)
Those who claim an equivalent of the Levites today, (pastors) are the ones whom Malachi is rebuking. Malachi is not rebuking the "people", he is rebuking the "Levites"(pastors)
The only ones ever authorized to receive tithes were the Levites. Ever since the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., it has been impossible to keep the tithing law. Today, Orthodox Jews do not tithe. No one is qualified to receive tithes now that the priesthood and temple are gone.
WHY? Because the sacrifice that must have been offered daily has been accomplished "once and for all" ( Heb. 10:11-13; Heb. 7:27.) There is no more work for the Levite in the administering of offerings. Why do Christians need to give offerings? Why do Christians need to offer heave offerings, burnt, freewill, meat, drink and even peace offerings? Has not Christ made peace through the blood of His cross? (Col 1:20)
Christ, "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;" (Eph 2:15)
"And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:" (Eph 2:16)
The Temple rituals are gone the way of the cross, and so have tithes and offerings.
Under a curse
If you want to understand the book of Malachi, read Malachi 4:4, "Remember the Law of Moses " That is the whole thrust of Malachi.
But we do not live under the Law, we live under the grace provided in Jesus Christ. If you choose to submit yourself to even part of the Law of Moses, you have a problem.
For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the Law, to perform them" (Galatians 3:10).
If you choose to place yourself under the works of the Law, you are under a curse for the simple reason that you cannot keep the Law of Moses. Your fallen, sinful nature will see to that.
The purpose of the Law is to act as our tutor, or "school master", to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith (Galatians 3:24).
Tithes are 'Corban'
And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. (Mark 7:9-13) (KJV)
If you have money your family needs, but you withhold it from them in order to pay it to the church as 'tithes', you are doing exactly what the Pharisees did. You are saying your money is "Corban" and Jesus taught that by doing so you were invalidating the Word of God.
LIBERTY not BONDAGE
Folks-we are under the perfect law of liberty.(2 Cor 3:17; James 2:12 and many more verses) We are "not" told how much to give. We are "not" told where to worship, or when. (John 4:20-25) We "are" told to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, (Heb 10:25) but we are "not" told how often to assemble. We are "not" told how often to celebrate the Lord's Supper. We are "not" told that Christ instituted a "new" Sabbath (replaced the seventh day Sabbath with the Lord's Day) (Sunday) as many Baptist preachers teach. We are "not" told we must be in church (assemble ourselves together) every time the church doors open. We are "not" told all of our Christian giving must go "only to the church where we are members".